During the 1940s, fishing rods were made of either hollow or solid fiberglass. Hollow fiberglass fishing rods were lighter and more affordable than solid versions, but they were more brittle and subject to breakage, particularly the tip. The solid rods were stronger, but they were also heavier and more expensive than the hollow ones.
Shakespeare developed a process that consolidated the benefits of each type of rod by joining a hollow fiberglass base to a solid fiberglass tip. With developments in graphite in the mid 1970s, Shakespeare added the graphite core for the base of the particular rod, making this even stronger. The Shakespeare Ugly Stik tip remained solid fiberglass, which is both strong as well as flexible.
When these blanks were examined they were stronger than anything ever seen, almost un-breakable. Shakespeare immediately increased production of this magnificently strong rod that was aesthetically truly ugly. Shakespeare patented its invention and for a long time was the sole manufacturer of fishing rods having hollow graphite base plus a solid fiberglass tip.
Joe Kuti a product manager in the marketing group at Shakespeare Corporation criticized the lack of cosmetic progress and said that the blanks were “the ugliest that he had seen”. The blanks had no pigment, the natural graphite color showed clear parallel fiberglass, and the wraps were black with white pin stripes and a metal rod handle was designed for bait-casting and push-button rods.
Shakespeare was the center of attention at the next trade show in Chicago where the rods were being used to lift heavy weights, and buckets of water. Before the end of the year Shakespeare started working on improving cosmetics. The style was changed towards it’s signature red and yellow basket weave in the grip, black wraps along with red and yellow-colored pin stripes in addition to lightly buffed smoother blanks with black pigmented fiberglass, clear glossy coatings as well as a clear tip area. The Ugly Stik Fishing Rod was born.
Shakespeare Ugly Stik History
For 30 years plus, the ugly stick fishing rod (Shakespeare’s “Ugly Stik”) has been the #1 selling brand of fishing rod ever. The reason could be because Shakespeare rods are built incredibly strong and are virtually unbreakable.
Shakespeare first introduced the Ugly Stik fishing rod in 1976. The rod blanks were designed while using the exclusive patented Howald Process, which was the first to boast a clear tip and ferrule-less construction.
Shakespeare has moved on to revolutionize the fishing tackle industry through the years with various freshwater angling and saltwater rod blanks. Their revolutionary brand of fishing rods cover anything from small light action ice fishing rods, all the way up to big game major action deep water tackle rods.
Shakespeare host children’s fishing kits like the Iron Man, Barbie, Star Wars, Disney Cars, Disney Fairies, Spider-Man and others. They have the Ugly Stik Jr. line for the kids, and also the Lady Stik line for women. Also available are various rod and real combos and accessory kits to meet many other needs desired by all fishermen for so many fishing applications.
Ugly Stik Fishing Rod Construction
The design and manufacturing of the Ugly Stik fishing rods has built a proven reputation for these rods as being virtually unbreakable.
They are built with a graphite core, covered by a fiberglass outer layer. And what adds more strength and backbone through the rod is that the blanks continue down through the handle. Also featured in these fishing rods is the epoxy coating to help protect it from the sun’s UV rays, and from wear and tear of excessive use and abuse.
Some Ugly Stik Fishing Rods are constructed of one solid ferrule-less blank. Many others are built with ferrules to allow them to be broken down for the ease of storage and transportation, while maintaining their durability and strength.
Many models have the twist and lock reel seats for quick and easy reel changes, and securing your reels firmly in position. Some Shakespeare Ugly Stik models offer the cork grip handles, while many offer the lightweight EVA foam grips, which are just as comfortable, long lasting and sturdy.